I recently decided it was time to get a new laser printer for my setup here in Tokyo. I hadn’t shipped my old printer from the US because it was old and the price of new toner cartridges exceeded the price of a new printer.
Being associated with the military, we have the advantage of US style mail service. The military has set up a system for all of our overseas service members to allow them to send and receive mail just like they were in the states. If you’ve ever seen an APO or FPO as the city in an address that is what is going on.
There are some size and weight restrictions, but the service is a great help when stationed overseas. However, many mail order houses refuse to ship to APO/FPO addresses because it can be a pain to set up. Other merchants have embraced the military crowd and make it a point to ship to APO/FPO’s.
I used to depend on TigerDirect for my electronic needs. I had used them in several different countries to purchase various electronic items and was always happy with the result. Until yesterday.
I spent some time on TigerDirect’s website, made my selection of a new laser printer and a new scanner, noted that it was within the APO size and weight limits, and attempted to place my order. I received the price for the electronics ($219.00), noted that the shipping cost was not yet determined, and clicked through to complete the order. I noted that I was given no choice for shipping options and no chance to preview the Shipping and Handling charge prior to getting the charge on my credit card.
Imagine my surprise when my order confirmation email showed Shipping and Handling charges of $127.00 for two items. I immediately called to cancel the order (thanks to Skype, the call was free). The operator told me the only shipping option offered by TigerDirect to APO/FPO addresses is Priority Mail, the most expensive option.
I wasn’t angry about the shipping charge; business is business and they have a right to make a profit. It was the sneaky, “Bait and Switch,” trick of hiding the shipping charge until after the order is completed. I think TigerDirect needs to add more clarity to their ordering page.
I like your site, wish I had the time to do something similar.
I have had good results ordering electronics from newegg at http://www.newegg.com/ I have had deliveries to my APO box show up in less than a week for small items.
I tried Amazon several times, but many items are shipped from vendors and coverage for APO shipping is random.
Locally, the stores in Akihabara have a great selection, but at a higher price. Also, everything is in Japanese. I have found some good deals there, when I couldn’t wait for shipping.